Ore 16 via zoom
- Phillip Grimberg (Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg
Sarà possibile partecipare al seminario, previa pre-iscrizione.
Le iscrizioni chiuderanno il giorno 2 dicembre alle ore 12.00.
Le mail di approvazione della registrazione e la comunicazione del link alla conferenza verranno inviati nelle ore antecedenti l'inizio della conferenza.
L'incontro sarà svolto in lingua inglese.
Responsabilità scientifica: Sofia Graziani
As of October 2020, the People´s Republic of China boasts thirty-seven cultural properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, twenty-four of which are “built structures”. An important criterion for UNESCO in assessing tangible cultural heritage and its inclusion in the World Heritage List is the authenticity of a site.
The term was first introduced as a yardstick by UNESCO in 1977 in connection with the implementation of the World Heritage Convention (1972), which was in line with earlier accords on the issue as outlined in the Venice Charter (ICOMOS, 1964), later followed by the Nara Document on Authenticity (1994) and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (2005). Reiterating the Nara Document, the 2005 Convention lists six criteria for authenticity applicable to tangible cultural heritage: “Form and design; materials and substance; use and function; traditions, techniques and management systems; location and setting”. Yet, in the case of China, focusing only on tangible elements, even for architectonic and monumental heritage, proves to be highly problematic with regard to the perishable nature of the materials used for buildings in traditional Chinese architecture, thus pointing to a ‘built-in obsolescence’ as these materials are in need of regular replacement. Unlike previous assessments of the UNESCO that have portrayed authenticity as an unshiftable given, current takes on the term understand it as dynamic, performative, culturally and historically contingent, and open to (re-)adjustments. Today, UNESCO recognises that different cultures have different ways of understanding authenticity, adding to their catalogue of criteria for authenticity “Spirit and feeling; and other internal and external factors”. Leaving room for due interpretation, I argue, the text of the 2005 Convention thus offers China – and
other cultures with similar or comparable architectural traditions and vulnerable cultural heritage sites – a way of maintaining and preserving cultural heritage without losing the (highly profitable) status of a UNESCO Heritage Site.
In this lecture, I will investigate a number of case studies from China´s architectural heritage, including the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang (UNESCO World Heritage since 1987) and discuss how and to what extent the concept of authenticity applies to heritage conservation in the People´s Republic of China.